"The English Year" is a lavishly illustrated month-by-month, day-by-day guide to all the customs and festivals of England, from the national celebrations to herald the new year down to small local traditions such as the Minehead Hobby Horse or Duck Racing in Oxfordshire. If you want to know where you can get free bread and beer on any day of the year; if you want to know where Mayday comes from or why you should protect yourself on Mischief Night; or why the English go in for all kinds of arcane celebrations but can't be bothered with St George's Day - this is the book for you.
Many of the traditions which we think of as very ancient in their origins were not in fact sanctioned by long usage over the centuries, but were invented comparatively recently. This book explores examples of this process of invention - the creation of Welsh and Scottish 'national culture'; the elaboration of British royal rituals in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; the origins of imperial rituals in British India and Africa; and the attempts by radical movements to develop counter-traditions of their own. It addresses the complex interaction of past and present, bringing together historians and anthropologists in a fascinating study of ritual and symbolism which poses new questions for the understanding of our history.
In "Britain since the Seventies", well-known historian Jeremy Black examines the most recent developments in British political, social, cultural and economic history. Taking the triumph of consumerism as an organizing theme, he charts the rise and fall of the Conservative Party, developments in British society, culture and politics, environmental issues, questions of identity, and changes in economic circumstance and direction. Iconic issues such as BSE, transport, asylum seekers and the NHS are viewed from both national and international perspectives. Black's account of contemporary Britain challenges as well as entertains, seeking to engage the reader in the process of interpretation. Through the lens of the last three decades, the author unveils his image of a country in which uncertainty, contingency and change are the defining features. In charting the impact of increasing individualism, longevity and secularization, Black is drawn repeatedly to examine a fundamental paradox of modern Britain: 'At the start of both century and millennium, the British were more prosperous than ever before, but ...happiness has not risen with prosperity.'" Britain since the Seventies" is a wide-ranging and cogent evaluation of recent British history, and as such will appeal to all those interested in the condition of modern Britain, and how it came to be so, as well as being an ideal introduction for students of the subject.
The "Macmilllan Focus" series provides background material which is designed to present a series of "insiders' views" of that world. "Focus on Britain Today" has been developed especially for students at secondary level, who are required to learn about British "civilisation" as part of their language studies. It uses up-to-date information and communicative methodology to provide motivating practice based on those aspects of the country in the 1990s which are relevant to learners of today. The topic-based language practice involves the input of information from textual, diagrammatic and visual sources. Specific language items are clearly presented and practised, and unfamiliar language carefully glossed. The emphasis throughout is on the exploration of and discovery about the target society in relation to the student's own - and, above all, those aspects of both which are relevant, and of interest to adolescents today.